COVID-19 Updated Information
Martinez Unified School District - April 2, 2020
Dear MUSD Staff and Community,
Clear communication is critical to navigating these temporary circumstances. Recently, well-intended communication from state officials related to school closures created some confusion and unclear messaging. I am writing to provide a clear update on developments specific to the Martinez Unified School District. This message is a bit longer than normal, please carefully review all the information below as it covers a wide range of topics related to school closures.
School Closures and Distance Learning
As anticipated the Governor announced yesterday, that it is his “expectation schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year”. At this time, neither the Governor nor the State Superintendent of Schools issued a formal declaration extending school closures. However, the Governor's statements certainly indicate the most likely scenario for MUSD. I encourage all of us to move our thinking and future planning toward the reality that we may not reopen schools for the rest of this school year. Of course, instruction and learning for students will continue via distance learning.
As Superintendent, I want our kids in school as soon as possible. As the father of two school-aged children (7th grade and 4th grade), I understand the challenge of balancing work, life in general, and trying to support their schooling needs. However, our primary focus in MUSD is the health and safety of our staff and students. We want to ensure we only bring staff and students back to school when it is safe and when we are permitted to do so.
Our current directive from County Health Officials is that we are to remain closed through May 1, 2020. We have not gotten any further directives at this point from the County or State. I anticipate, perhaps even in the coming day(s), State or County agencies may provide official directives to extend closures through the end of the school year. Once those directives are formalized, MUSD will surely comply and our efforts will remain focused on supporting staff, students, and our community through the end of the school year. Across all levels of MUSD, our staff was already focused on further developing the structure and learning resources to continuing distance learning for students through May 1st. We will be prepared to extend that work through the rest of this school year as needed. If a formal declaration is made by the State our County to formally extend school closures for the rest of the year, I will update you as soon as possible.
Spring break will continue as scheduled (April 6th-10th). We will have non-instructional days for students on April 13th and April 14th. Distance learning will continue on April 15th. As noted in some of my prior messages, as we approach April 15th, you will receive additional communication from me regarding distance learning developments, including but not limited to: grading, special education services for students, technology access, internet access, and student expectations.
Food Services During Spring Break
I am very excited to share that during our spring break (April 6th-10th) we will be able to continue or food service for students! Our food service company, Chartwell’s, some of their staff, along with many of our awesome MUSD food service staff, stepped up to ensure our kids stay fed! Food Service will be provided only at one location (MJHS) and will only be served Monday through Thursday (April 6th - April 9th). Effective April 13th, food services will resume at Las Juntas.
Seniors, Graduation, and Grading
Seniors, please know we love you and are thinking of you all as we recognize the magnitude of how COVID-19 is impacting your last year. As it seems more and more likely we may not be able to reopen school this year, I want to share some information specific to our seniors, graduation, and grading. During my time in MUSD I’ve was lucky to serve as the Principal for Morello Park and Las Juntas. Some of our seniors were my students when they first started on their journey to graduation, so I know first hand how hard all the students of Vicente, Briones, and Alhambra, worked to reach graduation. Additionally, I understand how important grading and graduation requirements are for all our high school-aged students.
Yesterday, the Governor and State Superintendent of schools stated that further guidance was forthcoming from the California Department of Education related graduation requirements and grading. In addition, school districts are getting information from the UC and CSU systems related to grading and SAT requirements. As Superintendent, I want to make sure we support the future plans of our students, acknowledge the hard work of our students, and ensure we do as much as possible to support all students, but especially our high school students as it relates to grading and college and/or career plans.
During the coming days, our staff will be reviewing the guidance from the California Department of Education, UC and CSU systems, in addition to private universities, and engage in further collaboration with our teachers and administrators in MUSD to determine what course of action is best for our students as it relates to providing grades at the conclusion of this school year. While I know this is a very timely and important topic for many of you, we want to take the time to make the most thoughtful and informed decision given the importance of this matter. Again, as we return from spring break you can expect further detailed communication from me regarding the topics of grading and graduation requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, I also want to address graduation ceremonies for our senior class and other related events scheduled for the end of the school year. First and foremost, MUSD is committed to making sure our seniors are able to participate in their graduation ceremony. With that goal as our focus, we will be sending out additional information as we come back from spring break related to setting possible alternate dates for these ceremonies if we are unable to have them as scheduled for the end of May. Our goal will be to identify a few potential dates in summer that can be place holders for the purpose of holding graduation ceremonies for our seniors. Please know, we are committed to honoring the hard work of our seniors and celebrating their achievements.
We are also working on other end of the year events such as Disneyland and Prom. Our administration team from AHS has been in contact with our Prom venue managers and are exploring other possible dates for this event. In regards to our Disneyland trip, the AHS administration has also been in contact with representatives from Disneyland. That trip is less likely to be rescheduled given the distance of travel and other complications beyond our immediate control and we are exploring the possibility of refunds. As soon as more details develop we will provide additional information.
There are so many end of the year activities that mean so much to students and families at each grade level. Please note, I am not ignoring the many other events which take place at the end of each school year, including 8th-grade promotion. Yet, our immediate focus is on those events that are specific to our seniors.
Alhambra High School Campus - Alternate Care Site
As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.
Martinez Unified School District